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Microsoft attacked over Windows RT software restrictions

Microsoft attacked over Windows RT software restrictions

Microsoft's Windows RT will only allow third-party Metro apps, a move which Mozilla claims is clearly anti-competitive.

Microsoft has been accused of shutting out other software developers following the news that its Windows RT operating system for ARM-based products would only run Microsoft software in the 'desktop' layer.

While Windows RT - the edition of upcoming OS Windows 8 designed for devices with ARM architecture processors - will support third-party software, such packages will have to operate within the Metro UI layer. The only software to operate outside the touch-centric interface, which is based on the Windows Phone tile-based user interface, will come from Microsoft.

Browser maker Mozilla claims that's a clear case of anti-competitive behaviour from a company which has found itself in hot water over similar moves in the past. 'We think it's a dangerous precedent,' Mozilla's general counsel Harvey Anderson told the Wall Street Journal in a telephone interview late yesterday. 'You're going to look up one day and there's going to be one browser. We'll be right back where we started.'

Anderson compares the restriction on third-party software for Windows RT to the behaviour that saw Microsoft attempt to exclude third-party browser Netscape from its Windows machines in the 90s - a move which led to the US government filing an antitrust suit against Microsoft.

Mozilla's backlash against Microsoft plans comes as a result of the latter's desire to become more like Apple. Following the success of Apple's iOS closed-platform model, where the only software that can be officially installed on an iPhone or iPad is published through Apple itself, Microsoft has seen an opportunity for profit - but one which is putting the company at odds with developers.

All software for Windows RT, the company has confirmed, will come from Microsoft's Windows Marketplace storefront - giving Microsoft a cut of any proceeds from paid-for applications. Providing Microsoft allows publishers to submit free apps - which it will - that by itself is none too onerous, but Microsoft's decision to restrict publishers to developing Metro apps for Windows RT is a different matter.

Mozilla has promised to make a formal statement outline its concerns in the coming days, while Microsoft has declined to comment on the matter.

10 Comments

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GoodBytes 10th May 2012, 15:48 Quote
Microsoft said so many times that WinRT will be for folder browsing/file management, IE with plugin and Office ONLY. Not even notepad, or the calculator.

I don't know why Mozilla complain about, it was known since day 1. Microsoft doesn't oblige Firefox to have a button to open a tab using IE ActiveX, so why would Mozilla force Microsoft to allow their web browser. If they they allow Mozilla, then they would need to allow all programs. I mean I don't mind, but Microsoft is trying to remove the desktop. I think if Metro allowed app switching like a task bar, and there was a file management as a Metro thing, then the desktop would not even be their. And that is what I expect from Windows 9 RT (actually I expected that on Windows 8 RT.. but I guess they were out of time).
r3loaded 10th May 2012, 16:24 Quote
How is this different from what Apple do with iOS? In fact, it's better because Microsoft are actually allowing alternate browsers to be installed in the first place. For some reason, Apple gets a free pass on these issues.

All this is ignoring the main point that Windows RT will be a pure touch experience, so talking about desktop Firefox for tablets is irrelevant anyway.

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yougotkicked 10th May 2012, 23:03 Quote
Because when Apple insists on a homogeneous 'family' of apple products and services it's cool, trendy, and innovative.

When M$ does it it's just inbreeding.

Anti-trusts suits, hipsters, and hillbillies aside; I think M$ needs to create a secondary brand that will just re-release it's products under new names with altered UI's all in an effort to hide what they really are. IE9 was actually rather good, not as good as the competition, but good. Yet many of us still keep our browser of choice on a jump drive so we can avoid having to click on an Internet Explorer icon whenever possible.
GoodBytes 10th May 2012, 23:50 Quote
We are talking about Microsoft, not "M$", Inc.
Snips 11th May 2012, 13:25 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
We are talking about Microsoft, not "M$", Inc.

+1

Nothing wrong with Microsoft doing this.
Woollster00 11th May 2012, 13:51 Quote
Anybody care? no?
Riffler 14th May 2012, 18:51 Quote
Apple get their products made in third world sweat shop death camps, but it's Microsoft that has the morally dubious obsession with profit. Interesting logic, there.
yougotkicked 17th May 2012, 00:51 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
We are talking about Microsoft, not "M$", Inc.

I know, and I don't begrudge this move in the least, I just like using that nickname for Microsoft b/c they are one of the largest companies on earth. I have seen that nickname used by many since at least the release of Vista.
GoodBytes 17th May 2012, 01:36 Quote
1- Actually it was used way before that.
2- Microsoft isn't the biggest company on earth, and I don't even think they are close to be. I believe it's Apple, or at least Apple is the biggest tech company of the world.
yougotkicked 19th May 2012, 23:02 Quote
1 - I said at least, that was just the first time I saw the name used.

2 - I said "one of", and they are close. According to Forbes M$ is the 3rd largest in the world, Apple is 2nd Exxon is 1st.
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